By Zach Arnold | May 17, 2010
“Overeem’s been running through everyone. I mean, like, ever since he moved to Heavyweight and ever since he went, I guess once his weight hit 230 and now it’s 253, which is actually down from 261, but I mean ever since he’s been past 230, man, he’s just throwing people around. He’s just wasting them and he wasted (Brett) Rogers, you know, and he looked good.
I mean he… I really would like to see Overeem in there with you know your cream-of-the-crop heavyweights. It would be interesting. I mean, he’s a pretty good submission guy when it comes to the ground. He can throw people around. His stand-up is very good, you know, I mean probably of all the heavyweights in MMA he may have the best stand-up, you know it would be interesting to see him and Junior Dos Santos, I guess that would be the big one. But you know he’d be a fight for anyone, I mean at least on paper and I’d like to see some of them and you know again whatever happens with Fedor and Werdum, put it this way — if Fedor beats Werdum and then Fedor avoids Overeem, I think that will be the black mark that will move Fedor down where people will go, ‘OK, he’s not number one any more,’ he’s going to have to take that fight you know or leave and fight whoever the UFC champion is, but at that point… After this fight with Werdum, to me this is Fedor’s last non-championship fight or people are just going to go, ‘OK, you know it’s like, you can’t make any more excuses now.’
So, that’s… that’s the Fall. You know, Fedor’s either going to fight Overeem or he’s going to jump his contract and go to UFC and fight you know Brock Lesnar or Shane Carwin, you know, so Fedor’s going to be at the end of this year Fedor will either prove that he’s #1 or he will not prove that he’s #1, but he ain’t getting out of this year still being #1 by avoiding that fight, that’s my opinion.”
There are two separate questions here:
- If Fedor doesn’t fight Alistair, will he still be #1?
- How would Alistair (theoretically) fare against the Top 10 Heavyweights in the world?
Let’s start with the first question. Given that Overeem is a legitimate Top 10 fighter (and one who I’ve voted in the 6-8 range for a while now) right now in an MMA Heavyweight class that lacks a lot of depth, you have to say that if Fedor doesn’t fight him that he’s no longer the number one Heavyweight in the world. I don’t think there’s much argument about that. Outside of the UFC Heavyweights, Overeem is one of the few guys left for Fedor (Barnett’s the other) who pose mild-to-difficult challenges for the Russian.
The other question is far more interesting to explore. Let’s look at the Independent World MMA Rankings from May and use it as a guide here:
- Overeem vs. Fedor — I’d peg this as a 65/35 fight for Fedor, simply because he’s got the better submission game and he’s a terrific counter-puncher who could expose Alistair’s chin like Badr Hari has. Alistair’s big advantage would be his size and length, but we’ve seen Fedor neutralize those factors in many of his past fights.
- Overeem vs. Lesnar — I’d peg this as a 60/40 fight for Lesnar. Brock’s too powerful, too strong, and too good of a wrestler. He is inexperienced and leaves himself open to getting submitted, which would be the big advantages for Overeem going in. I’m not sure about Brock’s chin, yet, and Overeem would be a hell of a challenge if the fight stayed standing up for a long period of time.
- Overeem vs. Carwin — I’d peg this as a 55/45 fight for Carwin. Shane’s wrestling would likely give him the slight advantage here. Again, we don’t entirely know yet what Shane’s chin can take from a super-powerful striker. We’ll find out on July 3rd when he faces Brock Lesnar. Overeem stands a better chance against Carwin than Lesnar due to the fact that Carwin hasn’t fought past the first round and I’m not sure how he would last cardio-wise in a long fight. Overeem’s got more high-level experience, too.
- Overeem vs. Cain Velasquez — I’d peg this as a 55/45 fight for Velasquez. We know Cain is an awesome wrestler and he could smother Overeem. The problem is that he might leave himself open for a guillotine. The bigger problem is that he couldn’t afford to leave himself open to take kicks and punches from Overeem. We’ve seen Cain expose himself and absorb punishment in the past, but he could never afford to do it against Alistair. He would pay a heavy price.
- Overeem vs. Frank Mir — Give me 60/40 odds for Alistair winning this fight. Size-wise, Overeem is smaller than Lesnar or Carwin so Frank could catch a break. Striking-wise, this would be an ugly match-up for Frank and he would likely get knocked out. Overeem knows enough on the ground to defend himself from getting submitted here. If he uses his size advantage and wears down Mir, he wins.
- Overeem vs. Junior Dos Santos — To me, a 50/50 fight. Two explosive strikers and Dos Santos is lightning fast standing-up. He’s smaller in size and if the fight went to the ground Overeem would be happy to oblige. Dos Santos could very easily knock out Alistair and no one would be surprised.
- Overeem vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira — 60/40 Overeem. Nogueira beat Randy but lost to Mir and Cain. Age is not on Nogueira’s side. Neither is his size. It’s not 2002 any more and he can’t absorb the amount of punishment that he used to take in fights. This is the one Overeem vs. UFC fight that I would not want to see take place.
Based on what I stated up above, Overeem is in that 5-to-8 range (which is where I had him in the first place). I don’t think he could be the UFC Heavyweight champion, but I do think Overeem could give all those guys a real fight and cause a lot of wins and losses to be traded back and forth with all the top guys.
Do I think we will see Overeem in UFC? Dana White would unlikely allow him to do K-1 and I think that would be the deal-breaker, unfortunately.